Emily Marsh on the importance of analytics and how to succeed on social media

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In this episode, I talk to Emily Marsh, content manager at Iconosquare, about how their tool helps their customers make data-driven decisions. We also talk about paying for ads and the power of video. 

What You’ll Hear

  • [1:09] About Emily Marsh and her background
  • [4:15] Why businesses should analyse their data
  • [6:44] How Iconsquare gathers data
  • [8:38] Tips to avoid online distractions
  • [11:45] Do we need to pay to ‘play to win’ on social media?
  • [15:19] Emily’s tips for Instagram success
  • [18:44] The key numbers to pay attention to
  • [21:30] Emily’s social media predictions for 2022
  • [24:22] Emily’s favourite platform
  • [25:56] The most interesting place Emily has visited
  • [27:10] Final comments

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Emily Marsh is the Content Manager at Iconosquare and has been working in the content marketing field for a number of years. 

She enjoys telling social media marketers’ stories through the podcast she hosts, esm², with the goal of sharing knowledge and helping others succeed. 

About Emily

Emily Marsh was born in the UK but has lived in rural France since she was 13, so she describes herself as more French than English. She studied semiotics at university, learning about the signs and symbols behind language. 

She says she’s always been interested in the words we use, which works well in the world of marketing and communications. She’s been at Iconosquare for five and a half years, working her way up from a junior role to content manager and podcast producer. 

Why Businesses Should Analyse Their Data

First of all, it’s reassuring for companies to be able to make data-driven decisions and see the evolution of their performance on social media. Having the numbers to back up decisions when moving forward with a strategic tactic online. 

Also, Emily Marsh adds, it’s an important part of the job to report to third parties on social media performance. Many Iconosquare users are social media managers who report back to their own managers or team. They’re also freelance community managers with their own clients. 

For both of these groups, it’s really important to have solid data to back up the work they’ve been doing and gives validity to the social media manager’s role. If you don’t have that data, it’s difficult to prove what you’ve been doing and that there are positive outcomes. 

Finally, many businesses and agencies may feel that they’ve missed the boat with analytics and there’s no point in starting to look at data so late in the day. However, Emily says that’s not true. 

A tool like Iconosquare can also provide historic data, and there are so many more metrics available now, compared to what the early adopters had. If you’re serious about using social media in your business, you should be analysing your data. 

How Iconsquare Gathers Data

Iconosquare is an official Facebook partner and have access to Facebook and Instagram APIs, which allows them to access their data and client profile insights. Being a partner also means that Iconosquare have excellent security processes too. 

They display the data in a clear, user-friendly way so that their social media customers can use it to make decisions and review it to see if any adjustments are needed. 

Tips to Avoid Online Distractions

Emily Marsh says she’s a fan of ‘losing time’ online, which is sometimes described as ‘doom scrolling.’ However, sometimes getting sucked into social media – if you do it purposefully – can be a good thing. 

If you work in the field, you need to understand the latest trends and see how they’re evolving. The only way to really get a feel for it is to get sucked in and waste that time – although Emily doesn’t see it as wasted time. 

Of course, there are times when you need to be able to focus on your work. Emily Marsh uses a pomodoro timer, which encourages you to work for 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break. 

She also recommends an extension called ClearMind, which allows you to break your day up into blocks that make sense for you. Give yourself time for getting sucked in, but when the pre-set alarm goes off, you’re done. 

Do We Need to Pay to ‘Play to Win’ on Social Media?

Emily Marsh says it depends on what you mean by ‘win’. If you’re looking for ROI on acquisitions campaigns, then you’ll need to pay, especially if you’re just starting out and you need to get your message out. 

But winning could also mean building a strong, engaged community, and that’s purely organic. It’s also harder to do this than just throwing money at your social media marketing. 

It’s about the strength of your message, your values and the content you create. And, it’s about being clever, authentic and sincere, and really engaging with your audience. 

You need to know when it’s wise to put the money in, and when it’s wise to put the work in. Smaller businesses need to pay for ads to increase their visibility and their reach.

It’s hard to get started, especially if they don’t have a community. It’s not easy, Emily says, to be innovative and offer something new that nobody’s ever seen before. And it has to take, and people have to like it. 

Ads are good for when you’re starting out and need a stepping stone, and then when you’ve grown it’s easier to reapply ads in order to generate sales. 

Emily’s Tips for Instagram Success

Emily says that video content is more likely to be displayed than any other content, on all platforms. To do well on Instagram, post all the types of content available, including Reels and videos. 

For businesses, make the most of shopping features and add as many products as you can, so Instagram becomes a mini shop. Sometimes, Emily adds, these can be more successful than your website. 

Using custom filters can also skyrocket your engagement, and there have been several success stories recently. If you have a business account and 10,000 followers, you can create your own filters. When someone creates a Reel or a Story, they can use your filter, and other people notice it. 

Reels have been around for a while, but they can still be great for business. It’s possible to have thousands of views on a Reel compared to only a few on a feed post. 

The Key Numbers to Pay Attention to

The click-through is the most important thing, because it shows that people are interested. When it comes to stats, Emily says reach and engagement rates are important. Iconosquare’s customers are particularly interested in engagement on reach: 

“This is a mixture of the two stats, and engagement on reach is massive. It represents the number of people who aren’t already in your community but are interacting with your posts. 

“It’s more than just the reach or the number of impressions; it’s the people who don’t know you or follow you but are engaging with your content. It’s so important to pay attention to it.” 

Emily’s Social Media Predictions for 2022

Emily believes that video content will be bigger than ever in 2022, and Tik Tok will continue to grow. The instant, ephemeral quality to Reels and Tik Tok is why they’re popular, and they’ll both grow. 

There’s also a new tool called BeReal, which gives simultaneous, front and back photos which disappear the next day. Users get a notification which says ‘Time to be real’ and they have to take a photo of themselves whatever they’re doing. It’s posted and available for 24 hours. 

It’s less about spending time planning and creating the content and more about being authentic and in the moment, Emily explains, and that’s what will be popular in 2022. 

Emily’s Favourite Platform

Instagram has always been Emily’s favourite platform, even before Reels made an appearance. She jokes that she’s no longer in the younger generation so she doesn’t know what’s cool anymore! It’s the most complete platform we have available to us. 

The Most Interesting Place Emily has Visited

Emily says she’s been everywhere, but Berlin was her favourite. She visited in 2019 to go to Iconosquare’s German office for a week. She was stunned by how amazing the city is. 

It’s bursting with history and you can feel the stories coming out of the walls. And everyone there is really happy. They smile as they walk down the street.

Final Comments

Emily’s podcast is esm², which stands for Experienced Social Media Marketers – that’s both the target audience and the guests. Guests can be from big brands or small businesses, and they chat about social media strategy. The aim is to inspire other social media managers. 

In this episode, I talk to Emily Marsh, content manager at Iconosquare, about how their tool helps their customers make data-driven decisions. We also talk about paying for ads and the power of video.



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